So my story is a little different from others. My modeling career started kind of by accident and when I least expected it. Four years ago I was well into my career as a graphic designer, designing promotional material, magazine ads, etc. for a wine company in New Jersey. Never in a million years did I think that my dream would actually come true.
I was new to Instagram, and was posting away like everybody else, adding hashtags and praying someone would feature one of my outfits. From my bathroom mirror selfies, my OOTD, new shoes I had purchased (I’m 100% obsessed with shoes), to pictures of my friends and family. I started finding pages on IG that were dedicated to loving yourself and being proud of all of you. @honoryourcurves was one of the first pages I started following, and to be honest she made me proud to be me. Her words are so empowering and the way she lifts others up is truly amazing. One day, out of the blue, she asked to feature me in one of her pieces for Skorch Magazine. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. “I inspire her?” I couldn’t believe what I was reading. After that piece came out, my following started growing at a very fast rate. Women started sending me thank you’s, that they loved my posts and were gaining confidence in themselves because of my posts. I was WOW’d. I had no idea that my posts were impacting people like this.
I came across a contest on IG about a month later, to be the new face for Manik Magazine, and I said to myself, “If I don’t try I will never know.” With my nerves all over the place, I went into that casting and nailed it. I became the new face of ManikMag. Our first shoot was for the December issue of the magazine. That day I wanted to throw up; I was so scared they weren’t going to like the pictures I was taking. I gave them every face I had practiced in the mirror. I said the vowels with my lips to use the different muscles in my face. I used everything I learned in the 15 years of dance classes to make elegant lines with my body. The day that it was published online, I had tear rolling down my face. I was so proud of myself. Buttttt little did I know there was some talks behind the scenes and I got a call a few days later. Six days after the Magazine’s issue was published I signed my first contact to be plus size model.
I have been a model for almost four years now. I quit my 9-5 a year an half ago to do modeling full time. I couldn’t juggle both, but I still freelance and do jobs here and there for companies and friends. Modeling is the hardest job I’ve ever had, but I’ve never had so much fun in my life and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Every day is a hustle! I FIT with clients daily, basically they build their clothing lines around my body and add inches or subtract them for other sizes. Each client and I work together to make clothing fit customers perfectly. If I’m not doing FIT, I’m shooting ecomm, campaigns, my own testshoots or doing showrooms for different companies. My clients are amazing and so fabulous to work with. They include, among others, Dia&co, JCPenney, OJG, Perry Ellis, Sea & Sun, Kohl’s, Dreamwear, Macy’s, Ralph Lauren, Ashley Stewart, Rue107, Lashes N Lace, Magic Silk and more!
This job is a constant GO GO GO! Not to mention that I must keep my measurements exactly the same, because I can’t walk into a client one week with a 38″ waist and come in the next week with a 40″. I’ll be fired! So I must maintain my measurements with the gym (3-4x a week) and eating right. You have no idea how much you can lose running all over Manhattan everyday.
Being a plus size model to me is not only a job. You are inspiring and showing women and men that you can be big, beautiful, healthy and have all the confidence in the world. I have really dedicated myself to helping others love themselves and see the beauty we all see. Not to mention, I’m insanely inspired by all of your stories! I love to hear about them. I try to respond to every story, question and comment, just bare with me as there are many. This job has taught me so much more about myself, and it has allowed me to help others believe in themselves. I wear what I want, I strut to my own beat and I am not bothered by the opinions of others. As I’ve said before in other interviews and blogs, you must love everything you see in the mirror. Stand up for you, your mind, and your body. BE CONFIDENT!!! Confidence is not a feeling, it’s a way of life. It’s believing in yourself. Feeling unstoppable, unbreakable, and flawless. Feel it, breathe it, live it!
And that’s my story…
1) Gian Andrea di Stefano @gianandreadistefano
2) Anamaria Mejia @anamariamejiafotografia
3) Jason Thomas @jthomasproductions
4) Lourenso Ramautar @don_lourenso
5) Nikki Gomez @thenikkigomez
6) Bruna Lacerda @brunalacerda
7)Ken Robinson @dpoipro